Guess what! It’s that time of the year, the time when we update the list of our favorite upcoming anime games. Some of them are already playable in their countries of origin – which mostly translates to Korea – while a few are yet to enter beta. Either way, we’ve played a few and we really want to play the rest of them, so keep your fingers crossed for Western releases, even if it takes a couple of years or more. Here is our new and shiny Top 10 Free Upcoming Anime MMO Games.
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10: MYSTIC FIGHTER ONLINE
Mystic Fighter is an over the top brawler that will resonate with fans of the now forever lost Dungeon Fighter Online – the North American version. That is, if it ever happens to launch in the West. It may look a bit rudimentary in parts but that’s part of the charm, it’s like one of those silly old arcade games where you spent a lot of your coins and felt damn good about it. You just have to watch the skyscraper infinite fall or the tank section to see how crazy and fun this game is.
9: GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX
2014 should be the year of the Ghost in the Shell MMO, a game that is in very secretive development for a while now. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a free to play online FPS developed by Neople, the makers of Dungeon Fighter Online and the closed beta is scheduled for the second half of 2014. Not a single visual was shown until now, besides some bits of artwork. This shooter will feature hacking battles between cyborgs fighting over strategic resources; it will incorporate “cyberization” as well as a cooperative battle mode, “a new concept that integrates AI with the player.” We’re quoting this last bit, since we have no clue what they actually mean by that. There’s potential in this game, but no idea if it will deliver.
8: KRITIKA ONLINE
Kritika Online is a lightning fast action game, one that would make Devil May Cry and Bayonetta proud. It’s a bit like Vindictus too, but with colorful anime visuals and flashy combos that repeatedly fill the screen. It’s one for the diehard action fans so don’t expect anything deep story-wise. In fact, don’t expect much in the way of a Western release at all since the months go by and nothing new happens.
7: MAPLESTORY 2
We know so little about MapleStory 2 but we’re confident that this sequel to a classic MMORPG will get a lot of attention, for good or bad motives. The game seems to be in very capable hands – Nsquare, the studio comprised of Nexon and NCsoft staff – and there’s just the right amount of ambition at display: MapleStory 2 will be in 3D but in isometric view, something that could soften the passage from the original 2D side-scrolling game. It will be set before the original MapleStory and although it features many familiar monsters it will have a new gameplay and world. The Korean beta is expected during 2014 and while Nsquare is slowly revealing the classes and a few teaser trailers, what we really want is gameplay footage!
6: CLOSERS: DIMENSION CONFLICT
Between Closers Online and Mystic Fighter, choosing our favorite side-scrolling brawler was relatively easy: even if we love the old-school, over-the-top style of Mystic Fighter, Closers is looking like a true up-to-date fighting game, one that looks 2D but is in fact 3D. It has some really delightful characters and backgrounds, as well as some crazy special abilities – ever fancied making a bus fall on top of your enemies’ heads? Well, you can do it in Closers Online.
5: SOUL WORKER
Soul Worker is finally back and getting ready for launch in a few countries, but a Western release seems very unlikely. However, don’t lose hope since a release in North America and Europe of this anticipated action MMORPG isn’t out of the equation. Anyway, Soul Worker returned in 2014 with a slightly new design and the result is a very polished action game with a collectible card game aspect and a bit too much visual effects. Action is fast and most of the time the screen will be filled with all sorts of colors and trails, but the character design is very accomplished, like an anime turned into an MMO.
4: PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2
Oh boy, where should we begin with this one? Should it be on the complete silence from Sega after the studio announced the Western release way back in 2012? Or how Phantasy Star Online 2 is going to be released in Southeast Asia territories fully in English but there’s still no word for the West besides a cancelation rumor? Will we ever be able to experience the fast-paced and fun action combat – especially the ranged combat -, the fantastic character creation system and the randomized arenas? Well, you can, actually, if you know your way around the Japanese version. But that’s not quite the same thing, don’t you agree?
After the disappointment of Ragnarok Online 2, Tree of Savior kind of came to the rescue. This is a spiritual sequel to Ragnarok Online and designed by the very creator of that classic MMORPG, Hakkyu Kim. Instead of going all 3D, Tree of Savior retains some flavor of the past with the isometric environments and 2D playable characters, but each one of the more than 200 bosses are created in glorious 3D. It all blends perfectly and with over 80 character classes to discover and use, Tree of Savior is set to deliver not only the looks but also the content. Tree of Savior could be the real Ragnarok Online sequel and a Western release was already teased, so keep an eye out for this one.
2: PERIA CHRONICLES
Peria Chronicles is something like the Asian answer to EverQuest Next – or it could be if both games weren’t in development at the same time for quite a few years now. Peria Chronicles is a sandbox MMORPG that empowers players, giving you the tools to create your own landscapes and buildings. It is beautiful to look at, you can create all kinds of content including quests and emotes, and there’s a Pokémon element to the combat where you get to capture creatures and use them against your enemies. It’s one of the most exciting and ambitious upcoming anime MMOs.
1: BLADE & SOUL
If NCsoft doesn’t release the Western version of Blade & Soul in 2014, then they probably don’t like money. With all the “gimme gimme gimme” and “cannot wait to get this game” comments that each video gets, the long and silent localization process is sounding more and more like bad news to us. It’s not unusual to see such a game taking a lot of time to appear in our shores, but since it was announced over a year ago, it was expected that we would be treated to a few screenshots and updates. But noooo, complete silence is all we’re getting. It’s still our number 1 anime game and we’re not ready to give up on it.
That’s it for now, we hope you enjoyed our choices and just like us you’re anxiously waiting these games. If there are any other free anime MMOs you’re expecting, let us know in the comments.